Coming up

Coming up

Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha will celebrate its merger this Shabbat weekend. The weekend will begin with a Shabbat dinner, 7:30 p.m. services. There also will be a Kiddush luncheon, Sat., Dec. 4, following Shabbat morning services. Rabbi Chuck Diamond will be installed as spiritual leader of the congregation during a ceremony, Saturday at 7 p.m. Past Presidents Alan Gordon and Lou Weiss will be honored at that time and Howard Elson will provide entertainment at the dessert reception. The weekend will end with a Chanuka parade Sunday, Dec. 5, 9:45 a.m.

Congregation Beth Shalom will hold a Chanuka Coffee House featuring congregant musicians and the VoKols acappella group, singing and playing music from around the world. Musical genres such as jazz, klezmer, Sephardic, classical, Broadway tunes and more will accompany coffees and pastries. This adult evening will be held Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. Everyone is invited to celebrate Chanuka with Congregation Beth Shalom. There is a charge. Contact Beth Shalom at (412) 421-2288 to make reservations.

The community is invited to a Chanuka Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Chabad Center, 1701 McFarland Road. Visitors can participate in the construction of a giant can menora made up of kosher canned goods that will be donated to the Community Food Pantry. Havdala and the celebration begin at 7 p.m. Chabad will collect kosher canned goods; and new, unwrapped toys and games at the center, Learning Express the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, Toys 2 Try Scott Towne Center and Toys ’R’ Us South Hills. Contact Chabad of the South Hills at (412) 344-2424 or visit <a for more information about additional Chanuka activities.

Music at Rodef Shalom will present violinist Hahn-Bin, a protégé of Itzhak Perlman, who will be joined by John Blacklow, a pianist and collaborator, Monday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. Hahn-Bin, 22, made his international debut at the age of 12, at the 43rd Grammy Awards program in a salute to classical music to honor Isaac Stern. He is the first-prize winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, received the Peter Merino Concert Prize in his New York debut at Carnegie Hall and made his Washington debut at the Kennedy Center. During the 2009-10 season, Hahn-Bin debuted in Paris, Australia and in performances with major Korean orchestras. This season, Hahn-Bin appears as soloist with the Marina del Rey Summer and New York Youth symphonies and with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also perform in various recitals throughout the United States. Rodef Shalom concerts are open to the public at no charge. A reception will follow the performance to provide an opportunity to meet and converse with the artists.

Morris and Shirley Shratter will receive the 2010 Community Service Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees Wednesday, Dec.8, at 11:30 a.m. at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. Their program, “More Than Just Learning,” is shown on PCTV.

Cantor Moshe Taubé, will hold a recital on the eighth night of Chanuka, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. at Congregation Shaare Torah, 2319 Murray Ave. Admission is free for Holocaust survivors; tickets can be purchased at the door. A sponsorship includes a private reception with Taubé after the concert. The Olender Foundation founders, Lovell and Jack Olender are presenting the recital.

A grand seniors Chanuka luncheon will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 12:30 p.m. at the South Hills Jewish Community Center, 345 Kane Blvd. Hot latkes and food will be served. There is a suggested donation. The event is co-sponsored by Chabad and the JCC. Contact Batya at (412) 344-2424 or for more information and reservations.

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, a celebrated Pittsburgh psychiatrist and author, will mark his 80th birthday with a celebration at Gateway Rehab’s Hope Has a Home Gala, Thursday, Dec. 9, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel, 1000 Penn Ave. The evening coincides with the release of his latest book, “Gevurah: My Life, Our World and the Adventure of Turning 80.” The program will include photo displays of Twerski over the years, guest speakers recognizing his achievements in the treatment field and a keynote message from Twerski himself. Twerski is the founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehab. He is recognized internationally as an expert on addiction treatment and has traveled the world as a spokesperson for recovery on behalf of the millions who have achieved it. In addition, Twerski has composed music and is the author of more than 60 books, including collaborations with the late Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip. WTAE-TV news anchors Sally Wiggin and Mike Clark will serve as the emcees. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. with musical entertainment from the Rick Gallagher Trio followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Call (412) 604-8900 Ext. 1234, or e-mail for more infomration. Proceeds from the program will support Gateway Rehab programs.

The inaugural Children’s Tumor Foundation Arts and Crafts Fair/Marketplace will take place Sunday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Summerset at Frick Park Clubhouse in Squirrel Hill. The fair is in honor of 6-month-old Jonah Snyder who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when he was just 6 weeks old. The event will include 10 vendors, a silent auction and bake sale. Vendors will donate a portion of proceeds – some as much 50 percent – to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Foundation. Neurofibromatosis is a progressive disorder that causes tumor to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF can lead to deafness, blindness, learning disabilities, bone deformities, disfigurement and cancer. NF affects one in every 3,000 children born, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. Research at the Children’s Tumor Foundation is funding is shedding new light on cancer, brain tumors, learning disabilities and bone abnormalities that will benefit the broader community, in addition to those with NF. Contact Jaime Snyder at or visit for more information.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, will speak at a public, free-admission event titled “Israel at a Crossroads: Decision Time for Peace” at Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Congregation Monday, Dec. 13, at 7:30pm. The event is moderated by Lynn Cullen and the Community Conversation partners include The Tikkun Olam Center for Jewish Social Justice of Temple Sinai, Social Action Committee of Temple Ohav Shalom, Congregation Dor Hadash, and the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee. The conversation will include audience Q+A and cover topics such as J Street’s role in the U.S.-Israel policy debate and the current peace process. J Street, which is the self-described “political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” to promote meaningful U.S. leadership in an effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli conflicts through a two-state solution. J Street Pittsburgh seeks to broaden the debate in our local community about Israel.

Gardens Ltd., founded 55 years ago, is the only Jewish garden club still functioning in Pittsburgh. The name was selected because the number of members was not to exceed 50, as meetings were held in members’ homes. The club holds 10 luncheon meetings a year with varied programs that now take place in different locations around the city. Civic projects have included planting flowers in front of Riverview Towers, and Anathan House, the home of the National Council of Jewish Women; and providing floral arrangements for major Jewish holidays for the Israel Heritage Room in the Cathedral of Learning. Every two years the club has a flower show with original arrangements created by members at the Phipps Garden Center on Shady Avenue. This year’s final meeting for 2010 will be Tuesday, Dec. 14, at Mitchell’s Fish Market at the Waterfront.

(Angela Leibowicz can be reached at